Any time a hearing aid user attempts to tune in to a speaker in a crowded location, the amount of background noise can quickly become daunting. Concert halls, auditoriums, theaters, and places of worship are particularly problematic for the hard of hearing. Hearing loop systems offer a straightforward solution to this problem, making it easy for individuals with hearing aids to enjoy sermons, movies, concerts, and other presentations without distraction.
Hearing loop systems work together with the telecoil feature found in many hearing aids. Originally, the telecoil feature was used primarily to pick up on magnetic signals created by telephones. People who had a telecoil could enjoy a clear phone conversation without having to worry about background noise. These same telecoils can be used by today’s hearing loop systems, which create magnetic fields on a much larger scale.
A hearing loop system begins with an audio input, either from a dedicated microphone feed (such as in an auditorium or place of worship) or a PA system. This audio signal is fed into a hearing loop amplifier, which drives a current through a cable (or series of cables) looped around the room. If the technicians who install the hearing loop system do their jobs correctly, anyone wearing a telecoil-equipped hearing aid will be able to hear the transmitted sounds clearly wherever they are in the room, without any “drop-out” or “dead spots”.
While newer technology such as FM transmission neck loops are becoming more established among many establishments, hearing loop systems can still offer a number of advantages to the hard of hearing. These systems are very convenient for patrons whose hearing aids have a telecoil feature, allowing them to visit any properly equipped venue without worrying about their ability to hear. Listeners also appreciate their more subtle nature, which allows them to enjoy a concert, presentation, or worship service without the self-consciousness that can accompany wearing a neck loop.
Despite their initial set-up cost, hearing aid loops are an efficient and effective way to make sure all visitors to a venue are able to enjoy their experience.